What an Advertise-Meant?

my take on the latest Indian advertisements             

Virgin Mobile ‘Free after first 3’ SMS Ad

with 7 comments

{Double click to view larger video}

Tagline: “Think Hatke”

Agency: Bates 141

Duration: 50 seconds

First seen: January ’09

Ad Message: Introducing the new ‘Free after 3’ SMS plan from Virgin Mobile

Target Audience: Young 15-22 years college crowd

Frequency: Medium

Description: The ad starts with a girl having breakfast with her father, as he tells her ‘you are getting late beta’. She suddenly breaks into a foolish grin and says ‘last night kiss was like hmmm…he was awesome yaar!’ as the father nods at her. Next, she is in a college lecture when she gets up abruptly and shouts “Kitna bolta hai yaar, lecture suna raha hai ya lori, feeling so sleepy” and sits down. In the next scene she is sitting in front of a prospective groom who dares to ask “You made this samosa? very tasty huh”. The girl says “God kya dhakkan hai, mom has brought me one more namoona” before switching to a polite “jee thank you”. Last shot shows her in her PJs saying out loud “what am I wearing? Right now..nothing!” The ad ends with a voiceover “Live your sms life, nonstop, national or local send free sms din raat without any bag. Virgin Mobile, Think Hatke”

[Caution: Strictly opinionated comments follow]

Ohh dear, this is where their hatke thinking has gone too far. Unlike any of their previous campaigns which simplistically showed the out-of-box-thinking youth of today and how they are outsmarting the oldies to get their way in any situation, this one complicates things, and unnecessarily at that.

The idea that there is a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in every teenager and it is via the torrential use of smsing that they manage to live a sane life was a good idea to begin with. But not everyone will immediately link the girl’s blasphemous sentences as being the sms’s that are doing the rounds with her friends. Nor did I find the completely nerdy look of the girl (obviously inspired from Ugly Betty or apni Jassi closer home) befitting for getting across the naughtiness of this character.

Moreover, there are flaws in the consistency too (or maybe a case of an editor with extra sharp scissors?)– like why does the father nod in the first scene when there is no reaction from others in the scenes that follow? Why does she add a coy “jee thank you” in the scene with behcara potential groom? If at all, they should have had the girl say something sugary and polite at the end of her ‘real feelings’ in every scene, and that would have gotten across the idea much better imho.

Also, the whole new tariff plan from Virgin that you now have the option of sending 100 free sms’s after the first three paid sms’s of the day does NOT come through. It’s yet another powerful marketing strategy (which hopefully will sail-through inspite of this ad) from Virgin Mobile when you think about it, bang-on with the target audience…but just a glimpse of the logo ‘Free after first 3’ hardly does justice to it.

Now, living up to the trend they have a pretty decent microsite too – www.livethesmslife.com (which is where I got to know the above details about the tariff) with some cute Thumb Asanas to watch out for. But as for the ad, I will remain zara hatke whenever this one is on.

Weight Rating W * R
Idea/Innovation/Creativity 15 5 75
Storyline/Screenplay 10 1 10
Music/Jingle 10 5 50
Cinematography 5 5 25
Acting 5 4 20
Duration vs Impact 5 2 10
Cost vs Impact 5 5 25
Recall 0
Brand Recall 10 5 50
Ad Memorability 5 2 10
Tagline 7.5 6 45
Product Association 5 2 10
Target Audience Connect 7.5 5 37.5
Entertainment 5 2 10
Claim 2.5 2 5
Emotional Appeal 2.5 1 2.5
Total 100 385
Weighted Average Rating: 385/100 = 3.85 (on a scale of 10)
What is your rating of this ad –


7 Responses

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  1. i agree with you regarding the flaws.

    “But not everyone will immediately link the girl’s blasphemous sentences as being the sms’s that are doing the rounds with her friends.”

    At the begining you are not supposed to link it to the sms it actually builds the suspense and forces the viewer to think what would be the ad about and at the end when they show its about sms, the plot gets cleared.

    I think the ad is very engaging, smart and passes the message very effectively to the audience. I do agree there are editing flaws but still its good.


    February 9, 2009 at 4:15 am

  2. hey,

    i have updated my post with your site link…I hope you will be ok with it now..let me know if you still want me to delete the post.


    February 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm

  3. whats the name of the girl in the ad?


    February 12, 2009 at 7:05 pm

  4. hey i want 2 download this add. where can i donload plz tell me. my email id is sachin_hotmail dot com


    February 13, 2009 at 5:56 am

  5. wats the girl name ? do anyone kno ?


    February 18, 2009 at 7:18 am

  6. @maya: I guess I am getting old 🙂 Somehow this one didn’t click for me. But I am glad you took the time to tell me a different point of view.

    @abhi: No idea about the girl’s name. A pretty fresh face, will let you know if I find out.


    February 18, 2009 at 11:35 am

  7. though the ad is a little vague… but the girl is very cute and i guess there is nothing else that is good about the ad other than her.


    February 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

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